Update: Feelings about every Little Thing

I’ll start off with my overall feelings—how I feel, generally, about everything, about every little thing. I mean it seems like so many things are beginning to pile up on me and making me anxious. I suppose that’s why I think it’s time for an update. I need a vent. I need to put things in perspective, to organize, and most of all to bring things to the Lord—the One who knows it all and who cares.

I can’t find an adequate description of how things are with me. There are fears and worries and tiredness and some regrets and some health issues and just a lack of clarity about things. And then I worry about what is happening to me. Okay, I have a list I want to work through—mainly for my sake, but you can listen in if you want.

The News

I heard the other day that, I think it was about 65% of people, don’t believe the news—TV news, newspapers, all of it. News people these days have an agenda. They aren’t true journalists. They have a plan. They write the way they want to influence people. For instance, the reason that they are writing in the papers and on TV news about the Jan. 6th subpoenas and about those who are refusing to come, it is all an effort to get people to think badly about what Donald Trump did—so that they will think twice about voting for him. Again, its all politics. Its all about stopping Trump. It’s so sick! I could say more, but I think that’s enough on news for now.

My Reading

I’m reading United States of Socialism, by Dinesh D’Souza. Generally, I think it’s a good book—very informative and true. But sometimes, like the news, it gets to be too negative. I guess I have to also be reading the Word. It’s like drinking coffee. For every gulp of coffee, we should also take one or two gulps of water, especially on hot days when I am working outside. My doctor told me that.

My Writing

I’m an author, so most of my writing will be on a book. And then I will transfer parts of it to my blog. I’m writing now on the Tribulation. That sounds pretty negative, but I’m actually being blessed by the writing—because I’m using the bible as my main source. I’ve gotten to the point now where most of what I write comes out good on the first try—no editing requited. But recently that’s not been true—because of a hard passage in Revelation. Anyway, I was fairly sure of this one thing I wrote. Then last night because of additional reading on it, I know now that I will have to change it. It must be changed. And when you are writing a biblical commentary on a passage, it is critical to get it right. And when you do finally get it right after the second or third try it will always be a blessing and worth the effort.

My Jobs

It’s always nice to take time off. But I’m getting the itch now to go back to work—at least a little. Oh, I’m a house painter if you didn’t know. I’m retired, but I’m thinking that as long as I feel good enough to work, and want to, I will. I like painting and I especially like doing it to help people. It’s something God has gifted me at and put me into. However, it seems that because of my aging, I have more worries about it—about every aspect of it: doing it right, not falling off a ladder, pleasing people, all of it. Well, I’ve come to the end now on this blog and I feel better. Thank the Lord.

Update: Divine Encounters

This morning I’m hanging out in one of my favorite places for breakfast: Panera Bread. It’s cool in here but hot outside. It will be 100 degrees today, the hottest day yet.

I’ve been reading Killing the Killers, by Bill O’Reilly. So far in the reading it’s just been a lot of killing by terrorists. I’m waiting for the good guys to show up.

I’m taking some time off from work—my painting. I know I will have some jobs coming up soon. I always do. People will call. Actually, some have called but I said no. I like my days off too much.

Divine Encounters

I’ve been thinking some on “divine encounters.” What I mean is the encounters I would have with people as an ambassador for Christ—when I am walking in the Spirit. Thus, when he or she meets and engages with someone, since we as Christians have the Holy Spirit in us, we normally have a divine encounter with them. And so, everything we say to them is as if God is talking to them through us. We are the instrument of God bringing His message to them. This is a concept that we don’t always think about, but it is true. And we realize it most when we are walking in the Spirit—walking close to God in obedience.

I want to remind myself constantly of this idea—that I am always His ambassador and that normally every encounter I have with people is divine. I must not waste my time. I must make the most of it. If I am walking in the spirt, everything I say to people will be from His (God’s) mouth—from His heart. But if I say what is trivial and not of the Spirit, I am blocking the flow of His Spirit through me. That is a tragedy, and unfortunately, it happens too often in too many Christians. Too many of us are walking around as zombies (dead to the Spirit), and what we say is contrary to what the Spirit is trying to say in and through us. We must open our heart to Him; we must clean out our mouth and let the Spirt flow through us and out to others—so that we have those natural “divine encounters.”

Finishing My Life Well

Lately, I’ve been giving some thought to finishing my life well. I’ve been asking myself these questions: what will I have achieved in my life? or, Will I have done all the things that God has called me to do?

I suppose the unspiritual person would concentrate on worldly achievements, on greatness, wealth, and popularity. And even the Christian may be tempted to measure himself with these things: how much wealth have I stored up? How popular am I? or even How great I am, as far as my position in the community?

Then when I looked at a few Scriptures, I was pulled another direction. I first looked at Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” It’s hard to judge how much I have done that. I would say that it’s a daily thing—to walk in His Spirit and obey Him every day.

I also looked at Micah 6:8: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”  This is another one of those daily things and hard to judge how much I have kept up with this. It is something that I can only do when I am constantly walking in His Spirit.

Then I was led to a very familiar passage, Psalm 131:1-2:

1 Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child.

It is a song of accent of David, and tells us of David’s childlike trust in the Lord. Here we can definitely see in David how we ought to conduct our lives; and if we are old, how we ought to finish our life.

For me, I ought not to give my thoughts to greatness or high achievements, even if they are regarded as spiritual, or “for the ministry.” I ought rather to quiet myself and be contented with the Lord—meditating on His word, listening to His voice, walking in His Spirit and doing His will.

Moreover, I ought not to pressure myself with how many books I should write, or blogs I should write, or with ministry goals. My focus should be to daily and hourly keep my heart right with Him and to walk humbly with Him—and then to be open to see where He leads me.

No thoughts

I brought my writing pad and a pen to my breakfast outing, intending to write a blog post. But as it turned out, I have no thoughts. It reminds me of my earlier days on the farm when I would sometimes sit and stare out into space; and when someone would ask me what I was thinking about I had to say… “nothing.” I had no thoughts. I wonder if that’s possible. I suppose we are always subconsciously thinking.

It’s a terrible thing for a blogger to have no thoughts! But today I feel content to just sit here and eat my food and wait for something to come to me. An inspiration. A message from God. Oh no. My food is almost gone. Panic. I know… I’ll get a piece of caramel apple pie, with whipped cream. That will prolong this “no thought” blog, or it may stimulate a thought or two.

My pie came. It’s cold. I said I wanted it hot. But I don’t want to say anything. Just like I don’t want to think anything. Am I lazy? Or am I just resting, taking a thinking break. I think the later. Oh not, I just made a thought. I decided that I am not lazy, that I am taking a thought break. That sounds logical to me.

My waiter just asked me what I was writing on. I told him and he laughed. Hey, I made somebody laugh! My day is complete.

Update: Book Reading, Book Writing

I can’t think of anything in particular to write on that would be enough for a blog. But there are a few things I’m thinking about that, put together, would give you an update of what’s going on with me. Let me first tell you about the books I’m reading. The book I just put down a minute ago is Nikki Haley’s book, With All Due Respect. It will never be a best seller, but I enjoy reading it. I liked her before I started reading it, but now even more. She has a good character and I loved how she stood up to the people at the UN over their disrespect for Israel. I also love how she stood up to Kelly and Tillerson over their divisiveness against President Trump. It was refreshing.

Another book I’m reading is a very large book, The Presidents Fact Book, on all the Presidents and also their wives. It is very interesting and kind of fun to read. It’s a book that I might read again, because it is so loaded with valuable information—a good book of history; and we need to learn history before it is lost, because so many crazy people these days want to destroy our history.

As I refill my coffee cup, let me share my thoughts on a possible next book to write. Actually, I’m just finishing my latest two books: one entitled, After the Rapture: What Happens On Earth and in Heaven After the Rapture; and another book on my life story, which I don’t have a title for yet. I’m presently self-editing them, then I will write an intro for both of them, and then go through the publishing process.

So anyway, I’m already thinking of what my next book project will be. My most enduring thought is to do a book on a book of the bible. I don’t consider myself a biblical scholar, so it wouldn’t be a book of any great depth. My thought is that I need to be more in the word, so I thought that a writing project would help me get there. One thought would be to writing on the book of Revelation. I kind of wanted to write on the Tribulation anyway, so maybe that would be a good option.

Another idea is to delve into a book like Ephesians. I know that would be quite beneficial for me—for my spiritual life. I think I might enjoy getting into the Greek, doing word studies; and also, getting into the history of those times; and just determining what the main themes of the book are. Mostly, I would hope that the writing would bring me closer to Him, and that my thoughts would be constantly on Him and His wonderful words of grace and truth.

I find that since I am more and more retired, and that my painting jobs are fewer, I have more time now to do whatever. I pray that that whatever is well spent. Retirement time can be foolishly wasted. I pray that that won’t be true of me.

Retirement: Last Things

I think it’s always wise to plan the end of one’s life—to make the best of it. I’m almost 70, so I figure that I may have close to 20 years left, or at least 10. Of course, the Lord may return before then, so I’m all in favor of that. My doctor just told me that I was doing well, except that my cholesterol is high and she wants me to take something for it. I tried to talk her out of it, to just eat better, but she wouldn’t budge. She really recommended it. Since I talked to her this morning, I talked to a friend who is my age; and he has been taking cholesterol medication, and seems convinced that it’s doing him good. Well, I’m glad I talked to him, because now I feel better about going ahead and taking the medicine—I’m not sure what the name of it is; I’ll see.

I also think that I should keep eating healthy foods and exercise regularly—going for walks mostly. I am convinced that we should be good stewards of our bodies right to the end. And I think the last days of life are when it’s most necessary to eat good and exercise. Yes, I will run the whole race right to the end without stopping.

But to keep up the physical body is just one part of it. I strive to excel in all areas, especially in those areas of ministry, where I am making an influence on others. I think my greatest influence is through my writing. So, I will keep it up. And when the time comes to completely stop my painting, I plan on increasing my writing time. That is my plan anyway.

Of course, there is always the ministry of day to day contact with others, day to day communication. That is something I think we tend to forget about or underestimate. It is hard to know what influence just a few kind words may have on someone. So, I plan on keeping good communication going for as long as I live—no complaining about anything, but always doing good for others and thanking and praising God for all things.

Retirement: TV, Movies, Walks

I debated with myself as to whether I should include this section, because it might make me look bad. I know there are some bad programs, but I try to just watch the good ones. I do it to relax and for something fun to do. Here are the TV programs that I especially like:

In the morning I watch Fox news on channel 9 (in Minneapolis). It’s mainly local news and weather, but they have a little U.S. and world news too. Every once in a while, I will also flip over to MeTV and watch Leave It To Beaver. So funny. I love all those old shows.

If I’m not working and I’m home at noon, I like to watch Gunsmoke, also on MeTV. Call me old fashion, but I love it. Matt Dillion was the best lawman ever (on TV). He knew how to keep the peace and enforce the law, and he wasn’t afraid to gun down a few outlaws to do it. Somehow, I wish we could go back to those days to take care of all the rioters we are having now. Put them all in jail until they cool off. And if they resist, shoot them! Well maybe that is a little extreme, but keeping the law is important. It’s so sad that our country, and the world, is becoming more and more lawless.

In the evening I like to watch The Andy Griffith Show—and Barny and Opie and Aunt B. Andy is another great Sheriff. Later on, I may watch Perry Mason. I can never figure out who the killer is, but I like watching Perry do his stuff.

Saturday morning is the best time to watch cooking shows and also woodworking shows. I love shows like that. Then Saturday evening I try to watch Tour of Duty, which is the best Vietnam war depiction I have ever seen; I know because I was there.

Sunday evening at 6 pm I will usually watch This Old House. That is my best show of all, even though there are so many re-runs. Those guys, all of them, are absolute experts at their craft. I admire them so much. 

I’m a movie watcher too, but I need to see some new ones. Here are a few that I really like, that I have watched over and over:

Finding Forrester. This is a great story about the friendship between a16-year-old boy and an old, brilliant recluse (played by Sean Connery). A great story. I never get tired of watching it.

Red October. This is another Sean Connery movie. A great one.

You Got Mail. This may not be a classic, but I like it. I think it was very well written, staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. It has some great scenes that makes me laugh every time I see them.

Sea Biscuit. This is the best horse movie ever. I love the setting of the movie, at the time of the old Model-T cars. And the actors are so good.

I have included my walks in this section because it is also what I do for pleasure and to relax. Walking makes me feel good and I also feel good about taking photos along the way. I’m not necessarily a perfectionist as far as taking a good photo. I am more interested in trying to find beautiful scenes and all things in nature. And then, I do my best to capture them as they are. I think there is a skill in seeing what is out there. I know I miss so much, but sometimes if I look at something long enough, I will see it—something very beautiful: a tree, a cloud, a flower, or a combination of things that beautifully capture the glory of God.

Retirement: My Daily Routine

Since I have a lot more time off now, I find that it’s helpful to have a daily routine—so I don’t end up wasting my time, and spending too much time on the couch. First of all, I’ll give you the morning routine; its so important to get a good start on the day. The first thing I do after waking up and getting my feet on the floor is to take my meds: eye drops for glaucoma and my little pill for my thyroid condition. Then I turn on the set to the news. I just mainly catch the weather, the news highlights, and to see the friendly faces. And if it’s Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I will do my floor exercises, mainly just a few leg lifts, which I do to keep my hips in shape, since I had surgery on one, and the other I hope to avoid surgery on. Then I wander into my study with a cup of tea I just made and have my quiet time: reading the bible and prayer. I’m set for the day. If I’m working that day, I will have a quick breakfast and go off to work. If I’m not working, I will usually plan on going out to eat while I also read the morning newspaper and work on my next blog post—like I’m doing right now.

Okay, since my work days are just work, work, work, I’ll give you the routine for my days off. After my breakfast time, along with the writing I do, I will always sit down and make a to do list for the day. But before I start on it, as a way of procrastination, I will check on a few things on my computer: 1) my blog sites, to see if I am getting any likes or comments; comments are especially encouraging to me. 2) I check Fox News clips to see what’s going on in the world. 3) I also check President Trump’s tweets. Most of them are very encouraging to me, and I root for him every day! 4) Bill O’Reilly has a daily news clip I like to listen to. He’s my kind of guy. Okay, I’m ready to start on my list.

Here’s the things I normally have on my list for the day, and I don’t usually spend more than 45 minutes on each item.

Dishes. There’s always dishes to do.

Writing. Writing means writing my book. I spend at least a half an hour on writing every day.

Typing blog. Most of my blog writing is in the morning with my coffee and breakfast. So, this is when I type it out.

Read. I like to read lying down on the couch, propped up by a big pillow. Right now, I’m reading The Presidents Fact Book. It sounds boring but it’s not. It gives you all the highlights on all the presidents and their wives.

Laundry. It seems like every 2 or 3 days there’s laundry.

Trash and recycling. Gotta do it, take it out.

Vacuum and cleaning. Not daily, just whenever I see the dust and crumbs getting too thick.

Books. Books means figuring my income, tax deductions, giving, making money transfers, paying bills, I like to do this once a week usually on Saturdays.

Walk. I like to go for walks a couple times a week on nice days. And I always take my camera and try to get nature pictures. I may also use the time for prayer.

My Retirement Years: Work, Writing, Kids

I officially began my retirement in 2015… so I’m five years into it. A few things remain the same, but most things are a little different. I’m intentionally trying to slow things down, relax more and enjoy what is left of my life. I’m still painting, but not as much. I sort of feel like I can work as hard as I always have, but I know I’m getting older, so I made the decision to get rid of all my tall 32 ft. ladders (I recycled them). I just work now with a 20-footer. Besides not doing high work, I have also cut down on my hours. Instead of 8 or 9-hour days, I limit it to six hours; and I also take a 3 or 4-day break between jobs. But I want to tell you that my work is just as good as it always was, maybe even better. Since I’m trying to slow things down, I’m paying more attention to details. I love my work and also my faithful customers; and I will be working just as long as I can hold a brush and do a good job.

As for my writing, I think I am writing more now than ever. I have more time to write and I think I’m even better at it. I guess the more you read and write and experience life, the better you get at it. At present I am just finishing up my book After the Rapture, and I am also almost finished with this book on my life story—although I haven’t thought of a title for it yet. What’s next? I don’t know, but I’m sure God will nudge me to write something. I have some ideas but nothing solid yet.

Another area of my life that is constantly changing is my relationship with my kids. They are all adults now and their families are multiplying. I already have seven, almost eight grandkids. They came so fast. Justina, the oldest of my children, age 35, is married to Rusty, and they have two kids. They live in Virginia and they both work as nurses. Anthony, age 33, is married to Crystal and they will have two kids in a month. They live in Bloomington, just a half hour drive from me. They also are both working at very good jobs. Joshua, age 31, is single. I keep telling him to remain that way—ha! He also lives fairly close to me and we get together as much as we can. Abigail (Abi) is the youngest, at 29, and she just had her fourth kid. She lives in Texas with her husband Aaron who seem to always have two or three jobs going.

I really love my kids and pray for a them, but I don’t really know them that well. I put the blame mostly on our divorce arrangement, not being able to see them except for two hours a week. But I can’t put all the blame on that. I really could have worked harder to see them more. I could have fought for it, but didn’t. I’m not real sure why. I have sort of a hermit-like nature. I naturally don’t have a great desire to connect with people, not even my own kids. It’s my own selfish nature.

But I still have hope that things will get better. I think we all are working on connecting more—texting and even calling. And I think the more we pray for each other the better it will be. I also want to make regular trips to see my kids and grandkids in Virginia and Texas. That would be good—for them and for me.